Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that impacts the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild or severe and periodic or continuous. The cause of multiple sclerosis is largely unknown, however, it’s thought to involve damage to myelin, which is the protective sheath that surrounds nerve cells, as well as abnormalities in immune function. While there may be no known cure for MS, treatments are available to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Early treatment of multiple sclerosis improves patient outcomes. Below are the most common signs of MS that you should bring to the attention of your doctor.
The most common symptom of MS is chronic fatigue, which can be debilitating. It’s often described as an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that isn’t relieved by rest. Chronic fatigue gets in the way of having productive days at work and home, and it is noticeably worse and more common than normal fatigue.
This can range from mildly annoying to severely disabling and usually affects one side of the body at a time or one limb more than the other. Occasionally, muscle weakness may affect your whole body. Muscle spasms are also common with MS and can be painful.
Numbness or Tingling
People with MS often experience numbness or tingling sensations in their arms, legs, fingers, and toes. These sensations typically result from damage to nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brainstem.
Many people with MS have difficulty walking because they lose coordination between their legs and trunk muscles. They may feel unbalanced when standing up or unsteady when walking. As a result, falls are common among people with this condition. In some cases, coordination problems become so severe that you’re unable to walk without assistance or support.
More than half of all people with multiple sclerosis experience pain at some point during their illness. The type of pain varies depending on where the damaged myelin occurs within the nervous system. For example, you might have shooting pains down your spine if nerves in your spinal cord become damaged. On the other hand, if myelin around cranial nerves becomes damaged, you might experience sharp facial pain. Other types of pain associated with multiple sclerosis include trigeminal neuralgia (a stabbing facial pain), a burning sensation caused by inflammation around sensory nerves, and deep muscle cramps called spasticity. Spasticity generally occurs when motor neurons controlling skeletal muscles die off, leaving you unable to control these muscles properly.
Optic neuritis, which involves inflammation of optic nerves, is a fairly common symptom associated with early-stage multiple sclerosis. Blurry vision, loss of color perception, temporary blindness in one eye, and double vision are all possible manifestations of optic neuritis.
People with MS may have urinary issues due to a problem with the transmission of nerve signals in the area of the central nervous system that concerns bladder control. Either you can have issues with controlling the release of urine or experience urinary urgency.
MS Treatment in Farmington Hills, Novi, and Howell, MI
Our neurologists at Associates in Neurology are well-trained and experienced in the care and treatment of patients with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. MS can negatively impact your entire life. We can provide the compassionate support and guidance you need to improve your quality of life. To schedule an appointment with us, call our office today at (248) 478-5512 or use our convenient online request form. We look forward to being your partner in healing.